Last night's leaders debate has proved to be a ratings winner for TVNZ - despite one high profile critic calling it "dire".
The first of three planned debates between Prime Minister Bill English and Labour's new leader Jacinda Adern saw them discussing many hot button topics, including taxes, house prices and water rights.
According to Nielsen's TV audience measurement the much anticipated debate saw more than 783,000 New Zealanders tuning in. Add in the 144,000 people streaming the debate on TVNZ's online channels and the total number rises to 1.1million viewers.
Drilling into the TV audience numbers shows that those aged 40-plus were most engaged in the show, with more than 617,000 tuning in.
In the 18-39 age bracket the numbers were 141,000, which could prove a worry for the re-energised Labour party who are currently riding high on the back of the 'Jacinda effect'.
Meanwhle, the crossover age bracket of 25-54 captured the attention of 259,500 viewers.
Those spoiling for a fight may have been left disappointed as both leaders avoided attacks, keeping a tone of civility throughout.
In a statement John Gillespie, TVNZ's Head of News and Current Affairs said: "Last night was a big TV moment. In the country's living rooms, pubs and bars, people were riveted by the debate.
Gillespie called the debate "a galvanising event" and said it was "great to see" so many people engaged in the political process.
TVNZ's choice of moderator Mike Hosking had attracted some controversy due to his right wing bias, but response to his efforts were mostly postive, with Gillespie saying he did, "an outstanding job".
The biggest critic of the debate has been Mark Jennings, the former head of news at TV3, who labelled the debate "dire" and said it "falled flat".
"English and Ardern are similar - they are both nice people and it showed. This contest needed a disruptor, and it didn't have it," he wrote.
Writing on The Newsroom, Jennings said the measured and cautious tone gives TV3's attack dog political reporter Patrick Gower the opporunity to bring some mongrel to proceedings when he hosts the next leaders debate on three.